Salmon Shelter Life

A day in the life of an animal at the Salmon Animal Shelter

One of the things I often hear people say is that they can’t volunteer at the shelter because they feel sorry for all the animals there. This is most often uttered by people who have either never been to our shelter, or who have only visited briefly and not spent much time there. Truth be told, our animals are in some ways better off than a lot of animals that are in homes. Let me tell you a little about how our animals are treated and then you’ll understand why I say this.

Dogs that are officially ours (they are either surrendered by their owner or have spent more than three days with us after being brought in as a stray) are wormed and vaccinated against the typical five diseases that dogs carry (DHLPP – distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvo, and parainfluenza). Soon thereafter, they are spayed or neutered, at which point in time they are also vaccinated against rabies.

New dogs are kenneled separately from any other dogs for their first few days at the shelter.

Isolation Dog Kennels

Isolation Dog Kennels

If all is well, and the dog doesn’t appear to have any diseases or skin problems that could be transmitted to other dogs, then the dog becomes part of our general population.

At night, our dogs are placed in individual kennels. Depending on the weather, they are either housed inside in our heated kennels, or outside in our covered kennels. Even in winter some dogs prefer to stay outside, in which case they have an Igloo with a heater and blankets to snuggle in, along with a heated water bowl.

Heated Dog Igloos

Heated Dog Igloos

During the day dogs are typically grouped with one or two others in a common area. We have six common areas at our shelter, each one with toys, hidey holes, and dog houses and shade structures where animals can get away from each other and out of both the heat and the cold. In the fall we line all of the dog houses and hidey holes with straw so dogs can get cozy during the coldest of days.

Straw for Warmth

Straw for Warmth

Heated Igloos with Blankets

Heated Igloos with Blankets

Small Bark Park

Small Bark Park

In winter dogs are allowed outside only if the temperature is above 10 ºF. Below this temperature we allow them out for potty breaks and for short play times, and then bring them back inside.

When we do put dogs out in the winter time the short haired ones are either left out briefly, or they are given dog coats to wear. This occurs when the temperature is anywhere near or below freezing.

Fashionable Coat

Fashionable Coat

In terms of exercise, our dogs are taken for either a leash walk or an off leash run – a seriously fun adventure – most every day, all year long. They typically go with their buddies that they hang out with. Whenever possible we take them off the shelter grounds, with them riding in either a van or pickup. We like taking our dogs off site as it gives them experience riding in a vehicle and gives them a break from the shelter environment.

Happy Bandit!

Happy Bandit!

Sometimes they ride in the open, sometimes in a crate. Sometimes the dog will ride in the back seat of a pickup truck, sometimes in the passenger seat of a van or truck, and sometimes in the bed of a truck with a shell. In the end, the dog learns to be comfortable in most every form of transport – and they take every opportunity to stick their head out a window just like any other happy dog.

Ready for a Ride Anyone?

Ready for a Ride Anyone?

Crate Training

Crate Training

Some dogs love to play catch, so occasionally we just take them out back of the shelter and throw a ball or Frisbee for them.

Frisbee Star Bandit

Frisbee Star Bandit

Some dogs like to sniff the ground a lot, so we take them where there are interesting smells – like around sage brush and old piles of logs. Some dogs don’t like much exercise at all, so we take them on short walks around the hockey rink where they often are petted by kids.

Ball Playing Tex

Ball Playing Tex

The life of a dog at the Salmon Animal Shelter is pretty good, wouldn’t you say?

TOO Much Fun  :(

TOO Much Fun :(

Lots of Room!

Lots of Room!

Our cats live in four contiguous rooms, each with a window and thick wire mesh so the windows can be opened during warm weather. All the rooms are outfitted with cat houses, cat trees and catwalks high up on the walls.

Open Cat Room

Open Cat Room

The cats have plenty of places in which to hide, take a nap, or play hide-and-seek with their buddies. One of our favorite pieces of furniture in the cat rooms is the cat wheel . It’s kind of like a giant hamster wheel for cats. The thing is perfectly balanced so that even the smallest kitten can get on it and make it spin. Some cats will spend hours playing on the kitty-go-round.

Middle Open Cat Room

Middle Open Cat Room

We typically have up to 30 cats at a time in our rooms, with our average being 14. At one point last fall, in addition to 13 adult cats, we had 42 kittens! Most of them were from feral mothers. This presented an incredible challenge in both housing and health care.

Many Places to Lounge

Many Places to Lounge

When cats first enter our shelter they are isolated from the general cat population and kept in individual stainless steel cages.

Isolation Cat Cage

Isolation Cat Cage

They are vaccinated and wormed, and their health is monitored for 10 days. Once we have determined that the cat is disease free we will place the cat into the general population.  We also have them spayed or neutered as soon as possible once we determine that they are healthy.

When cats are sick they are completely removed from the main cat rooms and taken to a separate building with a sick bay built specifically for cats. This has helped us cut way down on the number of upper respiratory and other disease outbreaks that are typical in shelter cat populations.

Covered Parking/ISO Building

Covered Parking/ISO Building

Isolation Room

Isolation Room

Quarantine Cages

Quarantine Cages

Our cats are provided with plenty of good food, good health care, and as much attention as we can give them.  So you can see that the life of a cat at the Salmon Animal Shelter is also above par.

The mission of the Lemhi County Humane Society is to provide high quality sheltering for homeless companion animals from Lemhi County. I believe we do this to the best of our ability each and every day at the Salmon Animal Shelter.

Please come visit us and see for yourself that our shelter animals are happy and healthy as they await their new homes.

Happy Cats

Happy Cats

Happy Dogs

Happy Dogs

 

 

 

Cindy Phelps, Lemhi County Humane Society Board President, and shelter volunteer

TransportCindy

MARLEY IS HOME FOR NOW

MARLEY IS HOME FOR NOW